There is a quaint but serious by-play to the drama of the “Supreme Court crisis” around the issues of an impeachment attempt against Chief Justice Reynato Puno and the impending constitutional tussle about charter change. This is the call by many well-meaning citizens and citizen groups for CJ Puno to run for president in the 2010 elections.
At its face, this has a certain appeal, particularly for those who are fed up with traditional politicians. However, a deeper appreciation of the initiative should bring out the following observations: one, that this will not positively impact the current political battle to ensure an independent Supreme Court; two, it places the chief justice in a dilemma–any positive response to the clamor will ironically brand him as a partisan justice; and three, it will contribute to the argument of those who want him out in the sense that it provided an opening to brand him as playing to a partisan gallery.
I think we should leave him alone–at least for now. He should be able to concentrate on the various challenges the Court is facing. We should support his initiatives in this direction and not distract him from it.
Chief Justice Puno as president is a tempting possibility. However, it has its day and time–not now, not in the midst of the struggle to maintain the Court’s independence and credibility. It is untimely and may even have the effect of a political trap to give renewed vigor to a rumored impeachment move against him.